There is no excusing the San Jose Sharks choke at the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, Feb. 7. However, a rule only the NHL would employ made it possible…
Stanley Cup champions do not make excuses. The dumbest rule in the world still did not make the San Jose Sharks choke on Tuesday night, Feb. 7.
It did open the door, however. Without intent to blow the whistle, the Buffalo Sabres have only a good effort that falls short. Instead, they get an overtime win.
Only the NHL would consider any rule this illogical. Everything happened as if live because the whistle did not blow until the puck was in the net.
There was also no reason to blow the whistle. Hence, the correct result was achieved without tainted results. This potential is specifically why the NFL instructs referees not to blow whistles when questions about a live play exist.
Yet the NHL would rather force a wrong result they intended then let the organically-developed correct result remain. That is like pulling solar panels off your new house just because you thought it required fossil fuels.
Furthermore, it goes against the league’s stated desire for more scoring. In fact, merely instructing officials they should intend to blow a whistle so quickly is counterintuitive.
Referees are supposed to blow the moment they lose sight of the puck. This supersedes the fact that action shows the puck is still loose. Yet the NHL goes a step further, as it supersedes even action during the second it takes to actually blow said whistle.
Make Them Count
Nevertheless, San Jose must hang on to a 4-1 lead for 11 minutes. Furthermore, there is nothing to say the team does not sag earlier if the goal had counted. Moreover, Buffalo might have scored another goal had it needed to—it never even needed to pull the goalie.
The bottom line is the Sharks were outworked down the stretch by a team that played the night before. As a result, they still have only two road wins in franchise history against the Sabres.
The waived-off goal came when Micheal Haley battled for a Joel Ward rebound that Timo Meier put home. that left over 90 percent of the game to respond.
However, Joe Thornton committed his holding infraction 22 seconds later. With 21 seconds left in it, Brian Gionta sent a 22-foot wrister Matt Moulson tipped in behind Martin Jones.
San Jose seemed to respond, playing a dominant game over the next 40 minutes. Ward tipped in a Brent Burns blast 6:39 later to tie it—the first of four unanswered goals.
Logan Couture stuffed home a Mikkel Boedker shot nearly three minutes before intermission. Marcus Sorenson scored in his NHL debut just past the game’s midpoint, finding Melker Karlsson in the slot.
Then Joe Pavelski appeared to seal it just over six minutes into the third. The captain’s one-time blast on the power play gave likely Norris Trophy winner Burns a second assist.
Proceed to Choke
Buffalo’s comeback started 2:56 after that tally and took 2:28 to complete. Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo scored in that time.
Kane’s goal involved another unsuccessful challenge from San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer. Unfortunately, the resulting timeout did not stall the momentum driving Okposo’s goal.
DeBoer remarked after the game that he felt like Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn. Kane played the part of the New England Patriots James White, scoring again just over a minute into overtime. Fortunately, the Sharks only lost a point in their choke…and both California rivals lost in regulation.
The event summary shows San Jose’s overall edge: 33-22 faceoffs, 7-4 giveaways, 4-8 takeaways, 11-12 hits, 40-36 shots, 73-63 attempts and 13-18 blocks. A visit with the Boston Bruins Thursday (4:00 p.m. PST) offers a chance at redemption.